Light Start – Star Wars BB-8, NASA’s froodiness, Google health info, and Cat Street View


All (well, most) of our Star Wars dreams have come trueBB-8 Sphero droidWe’re pretty huge fans of R2-D2 at Stuff HQ, but R2’s got some stiff competition in the form of BB-8, the spherical droid that’s become the non-human character most synonymous with the forthcoming film, Star Wars: The Force Awakens. Now robotics company Sphero has made a tennis ball-sized version of BB-8 consumers can actually buy, charge and send scuttling around their homes, offices or wherever else the fancy takes them. BB-8 takes three hours to charge (via an inductive charging dock), offers an hour of play time, a range of 30m, has a top speed of 8km/h and is controlled via a smartphone app. A BB-8 will set you back £130 (R2,700), but that’s a small price to pay for your first robot friend. Play nice and BB-8 might even put in a good word without our future robot overlords.

Source: The Guardian

NASAs a frood who really knows where its towel isnasa-hitchhikerDon’t panic, but NASA is investigating sending probes on interplanetary missions by hitching rides on comets using harpoons and tethers. If this sounds like something straight out of The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy you’re quite right and deserve a gold star or an extra helping of pudding, because that’s precisely the inspiration. If the plan works out, we’ll be able to send probes and the like all over our solar system (and potentially beyond it) using little to no fuel and far more rapidly than many of our existing solutions. The best part is, once a comet gets where we want it to go the probe will be able to detach and go about it’s business, which could even include hitching another ride on another celestial body.

Google’s made it easier for hypochondriacs to never leave home againhealth_conditions_updateIf you’ve ever looked at Google’s autocomplete suggestions for web searches you’ll appreciate why it’s a bad idea to use the search engine to self-diagnose when you’re feeling under the weather. The crowd, it turns out, is less wise than it is paranoid. Plus, consider that your suggestions are based on the search histories of other people dumb enough to put their symptoms to a search engine. Though, with one in 20 Google searches concerning health information, Google’s trying to make sure if offers up better results by tapping into its knowledge graph, picking the brains of actual medical doctors and even including pretty pictures. Nonetheless, it does warn that the information it’s offering up is for research only and should be used to, you know, amputate your own foot or anything.

Source: The Verge

Cat GIFs are so 2014. Here’s Cat Street View?

Japan’s Hiroshima prefecture is famous for its abundance of feline residents and its tourism body thought it would make sense to take advantage of this in its efforts to promote the region. Enter Cat Street View, which lets you explore some of Hiroshima’s most iconic tourist attractions from a cat’s-eye-view. “You can enjoy and experience the hidden charms of the backstreets and the scenery of Hiroshima from the perspective of cats which know them well,” the district’s tourism division says, adding Cat Street View “is also full of information on Onomichi, a town of slopes famous for its cats”. Can we just move to Onomichi already?

Source: Techradar


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